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“Devastatingly downbeat”

Charlotte Josephine’s new play, Pops, hits you like a train. It’s a poleaxing, two-handed depiction of a dysfunctional father-daughter relationship, driven by a taut emotional logic and featuring two brilliant, bruising performances from Sophie Melville and Nigel Barrett.

Josephine doesn’t give you a lot to go on. Throughout the hour, it’s more about what’s not said than what is. A woman arrives back at her father’s house. She’s broken and trying to put herself back together at “meetings”. He’s broken and can’t be bothered, preferring to sit in front of Come Dine With Me all day, listening to Ray Charles cassettes, and drink.

In a series of glitchy, half-formed, and restless scenes, Josephine sketches out a relationship on the rocks. When dad and daughter talk, their conversation is stilted and stuck, apart from one exquisitely tender scene over a conciliatory cup of tea. “Fuck the Tories,” sighs Barrett. “Fuck the Tories,” nods Melville.

Ali Pidsley’s direction is rich with symbolism – the relentless Ray Charles soundtrack works as an effective metaphor for alcoholism – and moves deftly from static scenes to movement sequences. Both Melville and Barrett are superb, suggesting a sea of repressed feeling with hollow hellos, bitter laughs and dead, doughy eyes. It’s a devastatingly downbeat hour.

Anguis review at Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh – ‘quirky debut play by Sheila Atim’


Production Details
Production namePops
VenueAssembly Roxy
StartsAugust 1, 2019
EndsAugust 26, 2019
Running time1hr
AuthorCharlotte Josephine
DirectorAli Pidsley
Movement directorJennifer Jackson
Set designerBethany Wells
Lighting designerAnna Reddyhoff
Sound designerKieran Lucas
CastNigel Barrett, Sophie Melville
Production managerGareth Edwards
Stage managerRose Hockaday
ProducerHighTide, Jake Orr, Live Theatre
VerdictDevastatingly downbeat depiction of a father-daughter relationship, featuring two fine performances from Sophie Melville and Nigel Barrett
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Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

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